OAKLAND – The theory entering the season was that the A’s would score plenty of runs and hold their breath that the rotation and defense could get the job done.
Go figure that through 10 games, it’s their bats that have gone into hibernation. The A’s went down quietly Wednesday in a 5-1 loss, scraping together just three hits as the Los Angeles Angels completed a three-game sweep at the Coliseum.
Aside from another homer by shortstop Marcus Semien, the A’s advanced just two runners as far as second base. Manager Bob Melvin started Coco Crisp in left field in place of the slumping Khris Davis, hoping that a speedy combo of Billy Burns and Crisp atop the batting order might spark things.
But the A’s couldn’t get anything going against right-hander Matt Shoemaker (1-1), who was a 16-game winner in 2014 but had a down year in 2015 and gave up six runs in his first start of this season.
The A’s entered Wednesday’s matinee averaging just 2.89 runs per game. They’ve now been held to two runs or fewer in five of their first 10 games.
The one time during this three-game series when they did show some life offensively, on Tuesday night, the bullpen coughed up a three-run lead in an eventual 5-4 loss.
All told, it’s a recipe for letting momentum fly out the window. After sweeping three from the Mariners in Seattle over the weekend, they returned home to drop three in a row to another American League West opponent.
Starting pitching report:
Eric Surkamp (0-1) lasted just 4 2/3 innings and needed 96 pitches to get there. The damage off him wasn’t terrible — Kole Calhoun delivered a pair of two-out RBI singles. And things could have been worse considering he walked four (one intentional) and the Angels advanced a runner to scoring position in four of the five innings he was on the mound. Surkamp certainly didn’t let the game get out of hand, but he’s failed to make it through as much as five innings in both his starts now. The A’s could do worse than sending him to the mound, but the lefty isn’t exactly taking the fifth starter job and running with it.
Stellar work again from rookie middle reliever Ryan Dull, who came on in the fifth and stranded two runners. He has yet to allow a run, a hit or a walk through six outings (6.0 innings). The Angels scored a run in two innings off Fernando Rodriguez to open up a 3-0 lead. Then with the game 3-1, Liam Hendriks couldn’t hold the Angels in check in the ninth, allowing four hits and getting charged with two runs in just one-third of an inning. He also had a wild pitch.
At the plate:
Just not a lot to share in this department, other than Semien homered for the fourth time in four games. The rest of the team has hit five combined.
In the field:
Some nice outfield defense helped the Angels’ cause. Mike Trout ran down Yonder Alonso’s drive to the gap in left-center in the fifth, and right fielder Calhoun made a fantastic sliding catch in foul territory in the seventh.
The A’s drew just 11,216 for the series finale.
The A’s finally get their first day off after 10 games in 10 days to start the season. They’ll begin a three-game series with the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals on Friday. Rich Hill (1-1, 3.12) and Edison Volquez (1-0, 1.54) face off in the 7:05 p.m. opener. On Saturday, Chris Bassitt (0-0, 2.92) takes the hill against Chris Young (0-2, 7.45) in a 1:05 p.m. contest. Then the A’s finish their six-game homestand with another 1:05 game Sunday, as Sonny Gray (1-1, 2.70) matches up with Kris Medlen (1-0, 3.60). All three games will air on CSN California.